Text focusing the past tense

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Grammar Focus: Recognizing past tense
Text: "A Family Legacy" by Marian Wright Edelman From: The Measure of Our Success: A Letter of Our Success.

South Carolina is my home state and Iam the aunt, granddaughter, daughter, and sister of Baptist ministers. Service was an essential part of my upbringing as eating and sleeping and going to school. The church was a hub of Blackchildren's social existence, and caring Black adults were buffers against the segregated and hostile world that told us we weren't important. But our parents said it wasn't so, our teacherssaid it wasn't so, and our preachers said it wasn't so. The message of my racially segregated childhood was clear: let no man or woman look down on you, and look down on no man or woman.
Wecouldn't play in public playgrounds or sit at drugstore counters and order a Coke, so Daddy built a playground and canteen behind the church. In fact, whenever he saw a need, he tried torespond. There were no Black homes for the aged in Bennettsville, so he began one across the street for which he and Mama and we children cooked and served and cleaned. And we children learnedthat it was our responsibility to take care of elderly family members and neighbors, and that everyone was our neighbor. My mother carried on the home after Daddy died, and my brother Julian hascarried it on to this day behind our church since our mother's death in 1984....
When my mother died, an old white man in my hometown of Bennettsville asked me what I do. In a flash Irealized that in my work at the Children's Defense Fund I do exactly what my parents did--just on a different scale....
I have always believed that I could help change the world because I havebeen lucky to have adults around me who did--in small and large ways. Most were people of simple grace who understood what Walker Percy wrote: You can get all As and still flunk life.(pp. 3-8)
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